This is a speech about homework I wrote ages ago for school.
‘Is homework benefiting me in any way?’
This is one of the first questions I asked when I began in school.
Not having done ANY homework in my life before, it seemed like a ridiculous notion to suddenly spend all of my free time doing something boring and labourious, where the positive effects were not to be guaranteed.
I have just missed eight years of homework, not to mention schoolwork, and I am getting on just fine in school. So what has the education system been telling us all our lives?
There is virtually no evidence at all that homework helps us learn. The opposite of that is the conclusion that I make, myself.
For a start, At Tønder Gymnasium in southern Jutland, Denmark, where third-year high school students have not had homework since they started at the school, the graduation rate has grown from 70 percent to 85 percent. The national average is 75 percent. At the same time, grade point averages have risen by 1.1 points on the 7-point grading scale.
Many experts have claimed that homework creates negative energy between students and their teachers and parents. When parents are constantly nagging children it forms a negative relationship. If we did not do homework, this would not be an issue.
So why do we still do homework?
There are some small bits of evidence supporting homework, though. Studies have shown that homework is of some benefit for students aged 11-13, for exam purposes, but for older students, there is research that shows that more is counterproductive when more than 2 hours of homework is given to them. For younger students, there is very little evidence of it being beneficial, apart from drilling into them the long, tedious chore of homework and study.
This is not sufficient enough proof to show that homework should be such a routinely part of our lives.
My biggest issue is the lack of free time that I have during the day. When I get home, all I want to do is read, bake, play piano, play cello, go walking in the mountains, or simply relax, but I can’t. I usually have lots of homework piled up. I still have to spend 1-2 hours doing homework, spend an hour on the piano, eat, tidy the kitchen, and get to bed in time to be able to open my eyes the next day.
We must have to have some sort of time to spend on our hobbies. If we do not develop our own interests and opinions, what are we going to do when we leave school?
One issue that causes me many problems is the excessive amount of weight on our backs. Books are so heavy that they are causing serious problems in the spinal development of children. For stronger students, perhaps in older years, this may not be such an issue, but for younger students in secondary school, this is a serious issue that may lead to long term back problems. Michael Lynch, who carried out a study on the issue in 2006, noted that a government working group report in 2008 recommended that 12-year-old pupils should carry books weighing no more than 3.7 kg. However, he pointed out that average student of this age has a school bag weighing 11.8 kg. Bags should be at the very most 10% of our body weight.
Just the other day, I had homework in nearly all the subjects I had had throughout the day. When I swung my school bag onto my shoulder, the weight of it pulled me over and every time I tried to stand up, it pulled me down again. I did finally manage to get up, though. For a 30 kilo person like me, carrying a 10 kilo bag is 1/3 of my body weight. That is 3 times more than the recommended amount.
In my opinion, homework should be stripped back to the bare minimums, at the very least. If we spend all of our day in school, why should we spend more time doing schoolwork when we get home?
All evidence clearly points toward homework being an impractical and counterproductive use of our spare time.